Monday, March 10, 2014

Spring Tulips Pattern and Other Things

I have just published the new spring tulips pattern. What a fitting day! The sun is shining, the temperature has suddenly climbed into the mid 70s, newly returned birds are singing outside my window, and the official start of spring is precisely ten days away.

Oh, yes, I do know it won't stay like this. Tomorrow we're expecting a 30 degree drop in temperature and rain. But, these little hints at warmer weather to come are just enough to keep our faith in four seasons alive.

On to the pattern. I really like this one. It's so simple to make as it has no teeny-tiny pieces. The flowers are large and up front, tempting one to sniff the fragrance. Wonder if I should give the mug rugs a little spray of perfume. Hmm...

As I said, I really like this one. However, I thought I'd show you some of the issues I encountered along the way. I'm so far from being perfect, and I'm constantly messing up.

The first problem arose when I fused the first mug rug appliques down. Something just didn't seem right. In fact, I didn't like it a bit. I brought the piece upstairs and plopped it on the table in front of my husband. I didn't say a word. He looked at it for a long time, but he didn't say anything either.

"Well?" I asked. "What's wrong?"

"Mainly the colors," he answered. "The background is too dark, for one thing. And, what is the name of that ugly green?" Unusual for him to be so blunt, but he wasn't done. "Something else," he said, "but I don't know what.

Back to the drawing board. I liked the blossom on the left. The others were pretty strangely shaped. And the blue background not only showed through the yellow fabrics, but it changed the colors turning them from bright into murky. I redesigned, created pink tulips on a pale blue background, and fused yellow blossoms to a white background.

That was where my second problem arose. Those light yellow colors are simply too transparent, and there was one leaf that darkened a large area on the flower on the right.

Have you ever tried to remove a section of fabric that's been fused between to other fabrics? After the applique stitching was completed? Me neither. This was a first.

Oh, my! What a headache! I like to do things right, so these were really stuck down!

I was terrified that I'd cut all the way through the front.  Things didn't slide right back into place, but I knew the white batting would hide the mess on the back.

I don't recommend this tactic for anyone!! Next time, I'll trim off that offending little segment that wants to show through before I get out the iron.

Other Things

I did add "Other Things" to the title of this blog post, didn't I. The other things are some big changes coming to my house. See these two rooms? This is the "before" shot.

My goodness! That was an amazingly clean and organized day! I think I've seen it all looking like that - maybe twice. Maybe.

At any rate, I'll post an "after" in a couple of weeks.

Tee Hee!


  1. It is always great to read such posts. To my relief it is so human to make mistake choosing transparent fabrics. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Rumi. It's so true that we all make mistakes. It's how we learn best. I always hope that my experiences might help others to avoid a few pitfalls, because we can also learn from the mistakes made by others.

  2. My Dear Karen, I so agree with Rumi. I love that you are so open and "human" meaning that you honesty reveal your frustrations in working with fabric and patterns that you design and then you go on to solutions...remedies...for said difficulties. You inspire me with all those things. You let me know that it's OK to make mistakes in the process of creating something beautiful. LUV YA so much for those wonderful character traits. :-) I thought I would also offer a few little tips to all of us, in working with light colored appliques on darker fabric. And these are not my brilliant ideas. I learn so much from other creative people. :-) I really like Eleanor Burns method of using that very light-weight interfacing that one can easily sew around the edges of a gently rounded applique. In other words, you would place the interfacing with the adhesive side facing the front of your applique shape. Then you would sew 1/4 inch around all edges. Would be important to add a quarter inch seam allowance to the applique shape, because instead of it being a raw-edge applique, it becomes an applique that will be turned on the sewn former raw-edge. Anyway, once the seam edge is sewn, scale the seam edge to 1/8th of an inch. Carefully cut an opening in the interfacing & then turn right-side out. Now there is a clean sewn edge on the applique and the dotted sticky side of the fusible interfacing is on the backside of the applique. Fuse in place, as you would with raw-edge could even clip the fusible interfacing about 1/2 inch from the edges of the applique after it has been turned. Perhaps the interfaced lining of the applique would be just enough to eliminate the back-ground fabric from showing through. I don't see any problem in even using a light colored piece of cotton fabric in the place of the interfacing. Of course there would be no fusible to press the applique onto the background fabric, but then there's not reason as to why little dots of Elmer's wash-out glue couldn't be used to hold the applique in place. I would let that dry, before I began to edge-stitch around the applique. I've also read that used and pressed dryer sheets can be used as appliqued backings. Haven't tried this yet, but I intend to start saving my dryer sheets for interfacing purposes. They are lightweight and do not need to be removed from the back of applique shapes using Eleanor Burn applique methods. Eleanor even made lightweight fusible interfacing that is pre-marked with her quilt patterns. Her Sunbonnet Sue pattern comes to mind. Sure wish I was creative enough to come up with these ideas. :-) Pat H. in Bremerton, WA

  3. Thank you, Pat! It's so good to hear that these little confessions are appreciated. It's something that I really learned when I was teaching. If I was comfortable with making mistakes, the students wouldn't be afraid of admitting that they were wrong, and other students wouldn't tease or give them a hard time either. I used to make lots of mistakes on purpose just so the children could catch me up. "Oops, I messed up," was a commonly heard phrase in my classroom.

    I'm going to study this technique with interfacing a bit more. It looks interesting, for sure. Thank you for sending it on!